Sweet revenge for Tuukka Rask
No flashbacks. No post-traumatic stress.
And no goals for the Flyers.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was between the pipes for Saturday's 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. On a sweet afternoon when a lot of kids got to enjoy an NHL game, the Bruins skated to an easy win over the non-Bullies from Broad Street.
We have come to expect much more from the Flyers, but the visitors barely showed up at Causeway Street.
By any measure, it was sweet revenge for Rask. Three years ago, before the Stanley Cup was won, when Tim Thomas had a bad hip, Rask was the goalie for one of the worst flops in Boston sports history.
Remember? The Bruins led the series, three games to zero. Then they led Game 7, at home, 3-0. Then they lost.
It was downright Red Soxesque. It brought back visions of Mike Torrez, Bill Buckner, and Grady Little. It was an impossible gag.
Everything was made better a year later when Thomas carried the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup victory in 39 years. But Rask was left with the scars of 2010. He was only 23 years old when all of that happened.
Fast-forward to 2013. Thomas has become a survivalist guy in a cabin with a tinfoil hat, crazier than Mel Gibson. Rask is the Bruins' goalie again, and he'll be the one when the playoffs start.
Saturday was the first time Rask played against the Flyers since the disaster of 2010.
"That's in the past,'' the pleasant Rask said when asked about the Philly fold. "We won the whole thing a year later.
"Things happen in hockey. For a goalie, if you start thinking about that, you've lost half the battle. Today was just another game.''
There aren't a ton of Flyers left from three years ago. Braydon Coburn, Simon Gagne, Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux, and Danny Briere are among the handful of 2010 Flyers still wearing the uniform.
"I won three games in that series,'' Rask reminded us. "Too bad I just lost the last four, but I mean, as I said, it's hockey, things happen in hockey, and that year it was Philly and it happens.''
Given the history between these teams, Saturday was a relatively flat afternoon at the New Garden. Both teams were skating in slush out of the gate. Boston managed only one shot on goal in the first 11 minutes.
At that moment, I decided to tweet, "I could have stayed in Fort Myers if I wanted dull.''
Naturally, the remark triggered three Bruins goals — on three shots — in 2 minutes 18 seconds. Tyler Seguin broke through first with a power-play goal. Then came goals by Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille. Those were 43 seconds apart.
The highlight of the second period came when Shawn Thornton pummeled Philly center Zac Rinaldo after Rinaldo (legally) clocked Johnny Boychuk. The Bruins are 9-3-1 in games in which they have at least one fight.
The young Flyers put only 12 shots on goal in the first two periods.
The Flyers had a couple of power plays in the third period, and Kimmo Timonen did a great job keeping the puck in the Boston end, but Rask and his defense held tight. It was the kind of game that puts a smile on the face of Boston coach Claude Julien — especially after seeing the Bruins blow a three-goal lead earlier in the week.
"Tuukka bailed us out with some good saves in the third,'' said Julien.
"We talked about it after the second,'' said Rask. "We needed to play a solid third period. I think I saw every puck. I didn't have many hard shots until the last 15 minutes.''
It was Rask's 13th career shutout and his second this season. He made only 23 saves.
"We're a team here,'' said Rask. "We win as a team, we lose as a team. But it's always good when you get a shutout. It says a lot about the team.
"I feel good. Taking the last game off, it was good to get a little rest, but still I feel good throughout these games and it's going to get busier and busier."